Hello everyone! Here is the Final Installment of Frivolity. It is far from frivolous, but with these two, that is almost always the case.
I offer my same stale apologies for not writing sooner, I was traveling around Europe for awhile, and did not have the time to write, but then when I got home the desire to write kept eluding me. It didn't return until I went back and read all of your wonderful reviews.
I must admit that for some reason writing X-Files fanfic is a very emotional experience for me, which becomes even truer as I watch reruns of the show… it almost hurts for me to write about the characters sometimes, so when that happens I try to stay away from the characters. I know how strange that must sound and I apologize for that, too. (come on though, you guys must know I'm somewhat of an oddball by now…. )
Anyway, here it is: the last chapter: )
"Jinx." Mulder said as he released a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.
Silence filled the basement as the pair stared at each other, neither one of them sure what should be said next.
"That was intense." Scully finally said.
"Owe me a soda pop."
Mulder laughed and reached for Scully's hand "See, that wasn't so hard."
Scully shivered at the contact, the moment they had just shared, the secret they had just revealed seemed too big for words, for anything really, time or space, and she felt cluttered in the basement for the first time in ages, as if the relief filled the air to capacity and she had to struggle to maintain a steady breath pattern, though she knew if she were to take her pulse it would be thready. The moment was simply too big.
Scully swallowed, "No, I suppose it wasn't."
Mulder squeezed her hand and then let go. "Are you all right?"
The moment had affected Scully, she was so scared before that saying it would reveal too much, and now, since their secret fear was the same, she wondered in what way he meant it, scared to ask.
"Yeah, I'm fine. It was just a little…intense, that's all."
"Most things are with us." Mulder said, as he smiled at her tenderly.
She laughed a little at that "Isn't that the truth." She hesitated a little before smiling tentatively at him. It wasn't in her nature to be shy, but there had always been something about him that made her second guess herself. "Is that really your biggest fear?"
He smiled again, "I wouldn't have said it otherwise."
She nodded, "I know."
"So, whose turn is it?" Mulder asked, trying to bring them back to their earlier state of comfort. When he had told Scully his fear he had meant to confess to her, but now he wasn't so sure it was a good idea. She seemed a bit on edge, which isn't really what he had been expecting. But, then again, he hadn't been expecting their fears to coincide either. If there was one thing he had learned from his time in the X-Files, and in his time with Scully, was to 'expect the unexpected.'
"I guess it's mine." She said.
Before, she hadn't cared to play this game, the type of game she always hated—she had only said yes because it was him asking, but now, suddenly, she wanted to play. The stakes had been raised and she wanted him to answer her questions. And depending on those answers, she wanted to answer his. She contemplated whether she should throw them back into the [now frivolous talk of first kisses, dates and dances. It's what she should do, she knew, but after it wasn't what she wanted to do. Throwing them back into frivolity was the smart thing to do, and she was Dana Scully, she always did the smart thing. But she didn't want to do the smart thing, she didn't want to close the door on what just happened between them and go on pretending like it never happened. That's what they always did—they let things go too easily, especially she did, never wanting to confront the emotions behind things out of the very thing they had just been discussing—fear.
Scully took a deep breath, "Why do you fear losing me?"
"Shit." He said and leaned his face on his hand.
"Well, that's not quite what I was expecting, but okay…"
"Scully…" he started.
"Let me guess: another question you don't want to answer." She was frustrated. She didn't care how childish it sounded, she absolutely hated playing a game where someone made up the rules as they went along, and that's exactly what it seemed like he was doing.
"It's just that…I don't think it's a good idea." He said, finally meeting her eyes. What he saw there surprised him. In her cool blue eyes he saw a flash of hurt, unmistakable and gleaming, gone nearly as quickly as it arrived, but still there, and he felt his heart pull.
"Fine, whatever." She said as she made a move to pick up her coat. "I'm going home." As she turned away from him she could feel the burn of tears in her eyes and she almost hated herself for it. She didn't want to cry, but she didn't understand.
"Scully, wait…" He said.
She stopped and turned to look at him, "I'm tired of waiting, Mulder."
He turned his head slightly to the side, catching a hint of a double meaning to her words. He looked down at the desk in front of him, "I know." He said, then looking at her, "I know."
She shifted her weight from foot to foot, trying to get the nerve to just walk out. She had pretended not to care for years, she could pretend for a few more minutes. Somehow, though, she just couldn't make herself do it.
"Scully, I will answer your questions, all of them, so long as you promise me one thing."
She sighed, wondering what he would ask of her this time. "What's that?"
"That you won't get mad at me."
She shut her eyes. She shouldn't promise that, she shouldn't promise things she wasn't sure if she could keep. But she sighed again, and reluctantly said "Okay, I promise."
Scully sat back in the chair and Mulder came around to the edge of the desk, leaning on the corner he looked at her.
"Which question do you want me to answer first?" He asked, staring at her intently.
She couldn't quite hold his gaze, she was trying to prepare herself, steel herself really, for what might come. "I don't know, it's up to you."
He smiled, trying to decide which truth to reveal first, knowing that the conclusion was the only place that really mattered.
"Okay. Fine. Scully, I am scared to death of losing you." He began, plunging ahead, "You mean so much to me. Since the day you walked into my office, since our first case, your disbelief and bewilderment, but the fact that you followed me anyway, that meant a lot, Scully. It still does. When I look at you, at all you've been through, all you've lost, all you've given, I'm in awe at the fact that you're still here, chasing demons and ghosts and memories with me. A lesser person would have left long ago—but not you. Your rationalism keeps me grounded, it makes me work for everything, and I love that. Losing you scares the hell out of me because over the years I've come to rely on you, Scully, to depend on you, and to trust you and no one else—without you, I would be lost. But what's more is that without you I'd be broken." He searched her face, and saw tears welling in her eyes. Classily, she blinked them back. They sat in silence for a moment, Mulder ruminating over what this final purging would mean.
She smiled at him. "I'd be broken without you too, Mulder." she said, finally.
"Is that why you're scared of losing me, Scully?" He asked tentatively.
"Yes…" she trailed off.
Sensing there was more, he prompted, "And…"
She turned her head slightly to the side, glanced at her hands making circles in her lap, and then looked at him again. She shook her head slightly, almost imperceptibly, but he caught it nonetheless. "Mulder…I can't." she finished with a slight inclination of her head. He had all but said it, but for her that wasn't quite enough.
He nodded his head, understanding her in a way that always amazed, pleased and occasionally frustrated her. "Okay. Maybe you need to hear the answer to the first question, then."
She felt her breath catch in her throat as her stomach began to churn.
Mulder inhaled sharply. "It's been years since I've had a girlfriend, Scully. Not since before I met you, actually. In the beginning I told myself it was just because I hadn't met anyone, that's why I wasn't dating. Later the reason shifted to no downtime, I was always working, and I told myself that that was the reason I hadn't asked anyone out. And then, eventually, I did ask someone out. She was nice, and we went out twice, but there was something about her that just wasn't right."
Scully closed her eyes and winced a little at this, she hated even the thought of him being with someone else.
"I stopped seeing her after our second date without really giving her a reason. Mainly because I didn't know the reason. Well, more accurately, I didn't want to acknowledge the reason. The reason itself I'd known for awhile" He said shifting his weight from one foot to another. "Do you know the reason?"
Scully shook her head. "No." she said, her voice coming out a bit raspier than she had intended. She cleared her throat and tried again. "No, I don't."
He looked at her and cocked his head to the side. She arched her eyebrow in return.
"I think you do know." he said softly, "But I'm going to tell you anyway." He smiled then. "You're the reason, Scully." He gauged her reaction, but she gave nothing away—she hid the fact that she was breathless and speechless. "Like I said, you're my best friend. But when I sat down to examine my love life, when I made myself really look at the reason I had become so closed off to the possibility of loving a woman, I realized, years ago, that I was unwilling to do that because I was unable. Scully, I haven't had a girlfriend in years because if I were to have one, I'd only be cheating on her by being in love with you." He said it so casually, so bluntly, that it took a moment for his phrase to register.
He knew the moment it did because her blue eyes widened, and the tears reappeared. She gasped slightly, manipulating her mouth into a small 'o' shape.
"Mulder, I…" she began, but couldn't find the words.
"Scully, remember, I told you that you couldn't get mad at me. You promised."
She shook her head lightly, "Mulder, why on earth would I be mad at you?"
"Because I've just told you that I've been pining for you for years."
"You're right. I should be mad at you."
He raised his eyebrows.
"I should be mad as hell at you for never telling me this before. Why did you never tell me this before?" she asked, her eyes still clouded.
"I didn't think you'd want to hear it, Scully. I mean, you're you and I'm…me."
She furrowed her brow, not quite sure she understood completely but getting the gist. "I don't know why you say things like that. I don't know why you would think that I wouldn't want to hear it."
"So then you did want to hear it?"
"Mulder…" she said tenderly, "forget all your theories and conspiracies and little green or grey men. I've been listening to you for years on end, and what you just said to me is the only thing I've wanted to hear for years."
"Scully…" he started, unable to form words big enough for what he wanted to say. Silence fell over the room before he pushed himself from the desk and knelt down beside her chair. Looking at her tenderly he brushed an errant strand of hair behind her ear before stroking her cheek gently. "Scully…" he said again.
The way he said her name brought tears to her eyes yet again, and she brought her hand to the side of his face, running her thumb along his cheekbone.
He stared at her face for a moment more before closing the distance between their mouths. His lips met hers, and all at once they seemed to melt together—years of hoping, wishing, dreaming, and wanting culminating in the basement where it all began. The kiss was tender, not completely free of desire, both could feel the latent passion just beneath the surface, but this was neither the time nor the place for pure desire. That would come later. This was a kiss meant to cement the bonds they shared, frivolous and otherwise, it was an introduction. Mulder deepened the kiss and it was like they were meeting for the first time on a different plane—if asked to describe it neither would be able to quite place it except to say that it felt like a handshake, only more familiar and intimate—the most pleasant and basic of introductions on which a foundation was to be built. For that's exactly what this first kiss was—a solid foundation—an introduction and acknowledgement of love.
Finally, when the meeting was over, they separated, still maintaining eye contact.
Neither said a word for what seemed like an eternity before Scully finally spoke.
"Mulder," she started, the rasp thicker than ever in her voice, her eyes clouded with the remnants of the kiss they shared "I'm afraid of losing you because I'm in love with you too. It feels like I always have been."
He smiled. "I can't tell you how glad I am to hear that."
He rose from his kneeling position and offered her his hand; she accepted and rose to meet his chest. He enveloped her in a hug and pressed his lips to the top of her head. Then he grabbed her coat and took her by the hand, leading her out of the basement with his hand in its familiar position on her lower back. She looked up at him as she passed him to exit the basement office, and smiled at the tenderness evident on his face.
He shut the door behind him and took her hand once more as they walked down the hall.
"Thanks for playing 20 questions with me."
She laughed "Anytime, Mulder… anytime." she said as she squeezed his hand.
He squeezed back. "Now…" he said, a gleam in his eye, "what was it you were saying about a nice hot bath….?"